(1908-1972) French-born UK writer and journalist, an intelligence agent in World War Two (underwent plastic surgery to change his appearance), active for many years in the USA before returning to France; his first work of genre interest in English became his most famous story, "The Fly" (June 1957 Playboy), the macabre tale of an unsuccessful experiment in Matter Transmission in which the hapless Scientist ends up with the head of a fly (see Horror in SF) and vice-versa. It was filmed as The Fly (1958), whose sequels were Return of the Fly (1959) and Curse of the Fly (1965). The story was re-adapted by David Cronenberg as The Fly (1986), with the science updated to include molecular genetics; this too spawned a sequel, The Fly II (1989). In 2008 the story was made into an opera. Two of Langelaan's other short stories have been adapted for Television: "Strange Miracle" (August 1958 Argosy), about a man pretending to be paralysed to collect insurance money, became an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (3 February 1962); "The Other Hand" (October 1961 F&SF), in which a man loses control of his hand to an unknown party, was loosely adapted as a segment of The Night Gallery titled "The Hand of Borgus Weems" (15 September 1971).
Langelaan's collection of sf/horror stories, Out of Time (coll 1964), includes "The Fly" as already cited; the title story is a tale of Time Distortion, in which the Perception of time is slowed almost to zero. He also published several works in French, including Nouvelles de l'anti-monde ["Tales of the Anti-World"] (coll 1962) and Treize fantomes ["Thirteen Phantoms"] (coll 1971). [JC/LW/PN/MA/DRL]
born Paris, France: 19 January 1908
died 9 February 1972 [1969 has also been given]
works (fiction only)
Previous versions of this entry